When opponents criticized Donald Trump for tweeting at 3am, he responded that when the phone rings in the middle of the night, he'd be awake to answer it. His critics might have countered that when the meeting starts in the Situation Room in the middle of the day, he'd be half-asleep. Experts offer all sorts of advice to boost energy levels but none involve tweeting in the small hours. Here are three ways that successful leaders boost their energy levels and stay enervated throughout the day.
Early To Bed, Early To Rise, Early To Exercise
Elon Musk has talked of going to bed at 1am and rising around 7am, giving himself a good six hours of sleep. Richard Branson would already have been awake for two hours by then. The Virgin founder says that he wakes up at 5am, then heads out to put to his body to work.
"I get up early to exercise because it gives me energy, improves my focus and concentration, and even helps me sleep better at the end of the day," he told his company's blog. Branson kite surfs, which is the kind of exercise you can take when you've bought your own Caribbean island, but any kind of gym routine, he says, keeps you focused throughout the day.
Take Time Alone
A recent study by the Wellcome Collection asked 18,000 people in 134 countries what they did to rest. The answers were surprising. Nearly one in four said that they rested by seeing friends and family but top of the list were reading, being outside, and just spending time alone. Those figures included extroverts as well as introverts who you might expect to enjoy their own company.
When you want to recharge your batteries, the best way to do it may be to steer clear of other people.
That solitude won't just give you a chance to focus on yourself though. Scientists have found that doing nothing gives your mind a chance to wander. Those moments of you-time will give you a chance to rebuild your energy levels but they'll also help you to find creative solutions and exciting new ideas.
Do Work That Matters
Work is exhausting when it feels like work. But leaders like Elon Musk are able to put in their famed 100-hour workweeks because what they're doing doesn't feel like work. That time isn't a trade they make for money. It's what they do to give their lives meaning outside of their family. Writing in the Harvard Business Review about the work they did to boost energy levels among employees in the finance sector, consultants Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy explained how Ernst and Young partner Jonathan Anspacher would ask himself what he wanted to be remembered for. The exercise, they said, "was both illuminating and energizing."
When what you're doing matters, you can't wait to jump out of bed and do it some more. And you never get tired of it, not while you're working out, not while you're sitting alone, and not while you're doing it.